Performance Saturday, April 16, 2011 | 7:30 PM

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Celebrated actor Gerard Depardieu joins the Chicago Symphony as narrator in Lélio, the sequel to Berlioz’s hallucinatory programmatic symphony about art, love, and opium. Symphonie fantastique, with its lurid musical imagery, and the more hopeful Lélio are landmarks—one famous, the other lesser known—of French Romanticism. Together, they make a powerful pair.


  • Chicago Symphony Chorus
    Duain Wolfe, Director
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Riccardo Muti, Music Director and Conductor
  • Gérard Depardieu, Narrator
  • Kyle Ketelsen, Bass-Baritone
  • Mario Zeffiri, Tenor


  • Symphonie fantastique
  • Lélio, Op. 14bis


  • Chicago Symphony Chorus

    Now in its 53rd season, the critically acclaimed Chicago Symphony Chorus has been led by Conductor and Chorus Director Duain Wolfe since 1994. Following successful collaborations with Riccardo Muti in recent seasons, the chorus has played a key role in Mr. Muti's inaugural season as Music Director. This season, the chorus has performed Berlioz's Lélio, Janáček's Glagolitic Mass, and Mendelssohn's Elijah, as well as the holiday Welcome Yule! concerts. Additional recent highlights include Bach's St. John Passion with Bernard Labadie, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in celebration of Bernard Haitink's four-year tenure as principal conductor. In 2007-2008, the chorus celebrated its 50th-anniversary season.

    The chorus's discography includes many hallmarks of the choral repertoire, including Beethoven's Missa solemnis, Bach's B-Minor Mass, Brahms's German Requiem, and Orff's Carmina burana. The chorus is featured on several recordings on the CSO Resound label; the recent recording of Verdi's Requiem under Riccardo Muti received a Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, the chorus's 10th win in that category.

    The history of the Chicago Symphony Chorus goes back to 1957, when music director Fritz Reiner invited Margaret Hillis to establish a chorus on a par with the quality of the orchestra. The new ensemble soon achieved an international reputation, with concerts in Chicago and tours in the United States and abroad.

    Appointed director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus in 1994, Duain Wolfe succeeded Margaret Hillis in leading America's premier professional symphonic chorus. He has prepared the Chicago Symphony Chorus for over 100 programs in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival, as well as for 11 commercially recorded works. Mr. Wolfe also directs choral and orchestral works at the Aspen Music Festival and the Berkshire Choral Festival. He is Director of the Colorado Symphony Chorus (which he founded in 1984) and guest director of choruses for the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Canada; in addition, he serves as both creative director and conductor of the CSO's popular Welcome Yule! holiday concerts, and has conducted numerous CSO education concerts.

    In 1974, Mr. Wolfe founded the Colorado Children's Chorale, a nationally recognized children's chorus that he directed and conducted for 25 years, and served as conductor of the Central City Opera Festival for 30 years, where he also created and directed the young artists program and opera-in-schools program. His numerous awards include an honorary doctorate and Chicago a cappella's Tribute Award in 2008. He is past chairman of the board of Chorus America.
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  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra

    A musical force in Chicago and around the world, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been consistently hailed as one of the finest international orchestras since it was founded in 1891. In September 2010, renowned Italian conductor Riccardo Muti became the CSO's 10th Music Director. His vision for the orchestra-to deepen its engagement with the Chicago community, to nurture its legacy while supporting a new generation of musicians, and to collaborate with visionary artists-signals a new era for the institution. French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, whose longstanding relationship with the CSO led to his appointment as principal guest conductor in 1995, was named Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus in 2006.

    In collaboration with renowned conductors and guest artists on the international music scene, the CSO performs well over 150 concerts each year at its home, Symphony Center, and in summer residency at the Ravinia Festival. With the launch of The Institute for Learning, Access and Training, the CSO engages more than 200,000 Chicago-area residents annually. Music lovers outside Chicago enjoy the sounds of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra not only through its Chicago Symphony Orchestra Radio Broadcast Series and best-selling recordings on its acclaimed in-house record label CSO Resound, but also through sold-out tour performances in the United States and around the globe. Since 1971, the CSO has undertaken 36 overseas tours, including 27 to Europe, six to the Far East, and one each to Russia, Australia, and South America. Bank of America is the global sponsor of the CSO. Visit for more information.

    Riccardo Muti

    Born in Naples, world-renowned conductor Riccardo Muti first came to the attention of critics and the public in 1967, when he won the Guido Cantelli Competition for conductors in Milan. In 1971, he was invited by Herbert von Karajan to conduct at the Salzburg Festival; his association with both the festival and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra continues today. Mr. Muti has served as principal conductor of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, chief conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Teatro alla Scala. In 2006, he was appointed Artistic Director of Salzburg's Pentecost Festival, and he currently serves as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a post he assumed in September 2010. Mr. Muti was awarded his first two Grammy Awards for his debut recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Verdi's Requiem, released on the CSO Resound label in September 2010.

    Mr. Muti has demonstrated social and civic conscience as an artist through concerts in numerous locations symbolizing the world's troubled past and contemporary history, which he has conducted as part of the Ravenna Festival's Le vie dell'Amicizia (The Paths of Friendship) project. These have included performances in L'Aquila, Sarajevo, Beirut, Jerusalem, Moscow, Yerevan, Istanbul, New York, Cairo, Damascus, and El Djem. In July 2010 in Trieste, Italy, he organized an orchestra of more than 650 young musicians from Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia for a Concert for Friendship before a crowd numbering more than 10,000, including the presidents of those three countries in acknowledgement of their commitment to building a future of cooperation.

    In 2004, Mr. Muti founded the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, which consists of young musicians selected by an international committee from some 600 Italian instrumentalists. In May 2007, he began a five-year project dedicated to the Neapolitan School of the 18th Century with the Cherubini Orchestra as part of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

    Innumerable honors have been bestowed on Riccardo Muti over the course of his career. He has been made a Cavaliere di Gran Croce of the Italian Republic and has received the Verdienstkreuz from Germany; recently, he received the decoration of Officer of the Legion of Honor from French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a private ceremony held at Élysée Palace. He also was made an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. The Salzburg Mozarteum awarded him its silver medal for his contribution to Mozart's music, and in Vienna he has been elected an honorary member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, the Wiener Hofmusikkapelle, and the Wiener Staatsoper. President Vladimir Putin of Russia awarded him the Order of Friendship, and the State of Israel has honored him with the Wolf Prize for the arts. In March 2011, he was selected as the second-ever winner of the Birgit Nilsson Prize. Visit for more information.
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  • Gérard Depardieu

    Gérard Depardieu was born in Châteauroux, France. At age 12, he left home and went to Paris, where he was accepted into the Atelier, the theater school of Charles Dullin, four years later. He completed his education at the Cours d'art dramatique with Jean-Laurent Cochet, and began his career as a member of the Café de la Gare theatrical troupe. Mr. Depardieu's first films followed in the 1960s, prior to his breakthrough in Bertrand Blier's Les valseuses in 1974.

    Mr. Depardieu subsequently worked with prominent advocates of the Nouvelle Vague-Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, and François Truffaut-and also with such directors as Maurice Pialat, André Téchiné, Alain Corneau, Claude Miller, Marguerite Duras, Claude Zidi, and Francis Veber. One of his greatest successes was the title role in Jean-Paul Rappeneau's 1990 adaptation of Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac. Since then, Mr. Depardieu has broadened his range to embrace English-language films. Other major highlights of his film career include Corneau's Tous les matins du monde (1991), Ridley Scott's 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Claude Berri's Germinal (1993), Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996), and Roland Joffé's Vatel (2000). He appeared in two widely viewed television films, taking the title role in Le comte de Monte-Cristo (1998) and that of Jean Valjean in Les misérables (2000); in addition, he scored a great public success as Obelix in three film adaptations of the Asterix comics by Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny. In 1984, Mr. Depardieu made his directorial debut with a film adaptation of Molière's Tartuffe, in which he also played the title role.

    In classical music, Mr. Depardieu has appeared as narrator in Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples and Kodály's Háry János at the Opéra National de Montpellier, both directed by Jean-Paul Scarpitta; at the Théâtre des Champs- Élysées in Paris; and in Berlioz's Lélio and Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible at the Salzburg Festival, conducted by Riccardo Muti. Mr. Depardieu's autobiography, Lettres volées, was published in 1988.
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  • Kyle Ketelsen

    Kyle Ketelsen has appeared with many leading opera companies and orchestras, winning critical acclaim for his portrayals in theaters around the world. Recent engagements include the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte for his debut at Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa; Angelotti in Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera; Escamillo in Carmen with the San Francisco Opera; the title role in Don Giovanni for his Minnesota Opera debut; Figaro for his New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Opera Pacific debuts; and Leporello in Don Giovanni with the Royal Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Michigan Opera Theatre. He also has sung Escamillo with Washington National Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Michigan Opera Theatre, Teatro Real in Madrid, and Orlando Opera, and Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust with Michigan Opera Theatre.

    In concert, Mr. Ketelsen has collaborated with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the St. Louis Symphony and David Robertson, and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under Itzhak Perlman. He also has appeared with the Orchestre National de France, the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Pasadena, Pacific, Richmond, and Indianapolis symphonies, as well as other ensembles throughout the Midwest. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Oratorio Society of New York in Haydn's Creation, a work he repeated with Music of the Baroque in Chicago.

    Mr. Ketelsen has won first prize in several international vocal competitions, as well as awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, Richard Tucker Music Foundation (Career Grant), George London Foundation, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Sullivan Foundation, Opera Index, Fort Worth Opera, National Opera Association, Connecticut Opera, and Liederkranz Foundation.

    A native of Clinton, Iowa, Kyle Ketelsen received his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa, where he studied with Albert Gammon, and did graduate work at Indiana University, studying with Giorgio Tozzi.
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  • Mario Zeffiri

    An esteemed interpreter of the bel canto repertory, Mario Zeffiri has sung at the Teatro alla Scala (La sonnambula), Opera di Roma (Tancredi, La sonnambula, Il turco in Italia, and Salome), Teatro Regio di Torino (Semiramide and Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Teatro Comunale di Bologna (Elizabeth, Queen of England, and Il barbiere di Siviglia), Teatro Comunale di Firenze (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Teatro Verdi di Trieste, and the Teatro Filarmonico di Verona (La sonnambula). Outside Italy, he has performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Opéra Comique in Paris, the Liceu in Barcelona, and the Komische Oper and the Philharmonie in Berlin, as well as in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, Dresden, Helsinki, Brussels, Bordeaux, Nice, Montpellier, Liège, and Athens.

    His repertory includes more than 35 works, and he is especially noted for the roles of Arturo in I puritani, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Elvino in La sonnambula, Uberto in La donna del lago, and Tonio in La fille du régiment.

    Recent engagements include Berlioz's Lélio at the Teatro la Fenice di Venezia and at the Ravenna Festival, both under Riccardo Muti, with whom Mr. Zeffiri has enjoyed a long collaboration; L'italiana in Algeri at the Theater und Philharmonie in Essen; La sonnambula at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari; La favorite in Santiago; and Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Megaron in Athens. He made his debut in Rigoletto at the Estonian National Opera and as Arnold Melchtal in Guillaume Tell in Tallin. Upcoming engagements include Lord Arturo Talbo in I puritani at the Scottish Opera in Glasgow, and Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola for Deutsche Oper Berlin.

    A native of Athens, Mr. Zeffiri completed his education in Italy at the Accademia Teatro alla Scala on scholarship from the Maria Callas Foundation, and in Spain with tenor Juan Oncina. He currently studies with Kammersänger Peter Gougaloff in Berlin.
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Berlioz Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 (IV. March to the Scaffold)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Claudio Abbado, Conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
Berlioz Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 (V. Songe d’une nuit du Sabbat)
The Philadelphia Orchestra / Riccardo Muti, Conductor
EMI Seraphim

At a Glance

Tonight, Riccardo Muti introduces the work Berlioz viewed as his signature artistic statement: the evening-long pairing of his most famous composition, the Symphonie fantastique—long a staple of the orchestral repertoire—and its little-known sequel, Lélio. Berlioz wrote Lélio as the “conclusion and complement” of his Symphonie fantastique—the resolution of the earlier work’s tortured tale, a response to the symphony’s cliffhanger ending, and, above all, a testament to the healing power of music. Together, they formed the Episode in the Life of an Artist—a daring mix of autobiography and fantasy, symphony and theater, music and literature, that is truly sui generis, a unique work of creative imagination and brazen self-expression.
Program Notes